How Undiagnosed ADHD Leads to Trauma

FRIENDLY DISCLAIMER: This article was not created to attack anyone who is diagnosed with ADHD or who may display these symptoms. It was created to understand them and bring more awareness to the topic. Please don’t use it as a means of self-diagnosis. Instead, reach out to a licensed medical professional for an accurate one. Not every person with ADHD will relate to this video as it is generalized and inferred from numerous studies. Lastly, please remember that being diagnosed with ADHD doesn’t indicate laziness, being “dumb”, or any negative quality. You’re an amazing person!

Hey, Psych2goers! It’s nice to see you again.

Are you familiar with ADHD?

For those who frequently visit our channel, you’re probably already aware of its meaning, signs, and symptoms, but if you’re new – welcome! Here’s a quick rundown to understand the topic better.

ADHD, also known as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,  is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and often persists into adulthood.

There are three major types of ADHD: inattentive, also known as ADDhyperactive, and combined.

People with ADHD tend to be impulsive, hyperactive, inattentive, distractible, or a mix of everything.

Because of that, they have a high chance of facing issues concerning family, relationships, education, employment, and more. 

So without further ado, here’s how undiagnosed ADHD leads to trauma. Please read until the end for a special message!

1. Being prone to accidents.

Do you consider yourself a clumsy person?

Are you often bumping into things, dropping them, or getting into minor or major accidents?

A person with ADHD tends to have concentration difficulties. You may have trouble sticking to one task because you end up getting distracted.

Case in point: adults with ADHD tend to be at greater risk of having accidents, receiving traffic tickets, and driving without a license or on a suspended license (CHADD, n.d.).

This type of behavior can lead to severe accidents or injuries as well as psychological and acute trauma. A study by Able, Johnston, Adler, and Swindle shows that undiagnosed ADHD subjects were more likely to report multiple traffic citations, household accidents, and injuries than the diagnosed subjects.

So if you’re a person who can relate to this point, please take care and be extra mindful.

2. Inclination to substance abuse.

Did you know that “up to 30% of children who have ADHD also have a serious mood disorder like depression” (Smith, 2021)?

Because of this, they’re highly associated with earlier alcohol use and binge drinking.

According to the same study conducted by Able, Johnston, Adler, and Swindle, undiagnosed ADHD patients were more likely to screen positive for problem drinking.

Children who grow up with ADHD tend to have educational challenges. Because of their distractibility, forgetfulness, and impulsiveness, they may face rejection, bullying, and loneliness. This can cause depression and anxiety once they grow older. 

To cope, they may turn to alcohol and create an addiction, but despite the temporary relief, alcohol will likely end up contributing to PTSD symptoms, making things worse. It ends up being a fruitless cycle that damages the patient over time.

3. Likely to have lower levels of quality of life.

Do you have a strained relationship with your family?

Has someone ever called you toxic because they felt like you ignored them constantly?

Do you sometimes feel like you can’t control your emotions?

Research from Able, Johnston, Adler, and Swindle documented that people with undiagnosed ADHD reported having lower levels of quality of life. This includes Life Productivity, Psychological Health, Life Outlook, and Relationships.

Young people with ADHD tend to have problems not only at school but also at home. When undiagnosed, their parents or caretakers may feel hopeless and frustrated about the child’s unfamiliar behavior. 

When they grow up as teens, they may experience a “distorted sense of self” and develop antisocial or/and reckless behavior.

Adults with undiagnosed ADHD have a higher likelihood of being separated, divorced, or remarried than people without the disorder.

This prolonged experience with rejection, neglect, and separation is a probable cause for psychological and relationship trauma, so when you constantly face challenges regarding these aspects of your life, please don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help

4. High chance of unemployment and lower wage.

Are you having difficulty getting or maintaining a job?

Do you feel like your involuntary behavior plays a part in this ongoing dilemma?

Unfortunately, this is the case for plenty of people with undiagnosed ADHD.

Their innate distractibility, forgetfulness, and poor organization skills lead to low job performance.

According to CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), high school graduates with ADHD earn about 17 percent less than their peers.

Because of this, they are likely to experience negative long-term mental health impacts such as anxiety, depression, loss of life satisfaction, and financial trauma

5. Tendency to have low self-esteem.

Do you feel like almost no one fully understands you?

Are you often jealous of other people?

Have you grown accustomed to the idea that there’s something wrong with you?

A person with ADHD tends to have self-esteem that diminishes over time. In the beginning, you may have just wanted a normal life, soon realizing that your involuntary actions are the ones creating complications in your relationships and goals.

You may feel continuously upset, claiming everything as your fault. You may consider yourself a hopeless person, resorting to reckless and harmful acts to cope. Fighting trauma with more possible causes of trauma.

If you resonate with the points and think you have undiagnosed ADHD, please listen to this message:


There is nothing wrong with you. Your struggle is heavy and your emotions are valid. ADHD is a disorder that most people are born with, and if you have been facing it all this time, you are the strongest person.

Plenty of factors go into why ADHD may go undiagnosed.

Research from Able, Johnston, Adler, and Swindle documented that observed differences in race, education, and socio-economic status suggest the presence of disparities in access to health care and may partly explain the difference in ADHD diagnostic status.

Sometimes, ADHD isn’t diagnosed because of a lack of clinical attention or a healthcare provider’s failure to recognize the symptoms. 

It is highly encouraged to visit a licensed medical professional if you feel like the previous 5 points apply to you. There is currently no cure for ADHD, but according to the National Health Service, a combination of medicine and therapy is best for relieving the symptoms.


Are you currently dealing with some of these points? From your personal experience, which ones do you agree or disagree with?

There are a lot of aspects about having ADHD or perhaps being in a relationship with someone having ADHD. If you want to learn more about it please comment down below!

Also, if you know people who can resonate with this article, please don’t hesitate to share it with them!

As usual, the references and studies used are in the description box below.

Thank you so much, Psych2goers! See you next time.




ABLE, S., JOHNSTON, J., ADLER, L., & SWINDLE, R. (2007). Functional and psychosocial impairment in adults with undiagnosed ADHD. Psychological Medicine, 37(1), 97-107. doi:10.1017/S0033291706008713

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Wiest, B. (2021, January 7). Financial Trauma Is A Reality For One Third Of Millennials, This Expert Explains How To Recover. Forbes. Retrieved June 9, 2022, from,(PTSD)%20from%20other%20events.

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